Video: Columbus man pleads to killing girlfriend in infant's presence
A Columbus man who gunned down his girlfriend in the presence of their infant daughter was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
Attorneys said Robert Junior Taylor’s “troubled relationship” with 32-year-old Lakeisha Shoulders came to a bloody end on March 29, 2013, when during a dispute he shot her three times with a 9mm pistol in their tiny apartment at 4249 Debby St., where their 9-month-old daughter was in a nearby playpen.
Taylor then left with the child, whom he later dropped off at his parents’ home.
Mortally wounded by two gunshots to her abdomen and another to her upper left thigh, Shoulders crawled to the threshold of the apartment door, where neighbors saw her and called police about 1 p.m. She died at the hospital.
Police arrested Taylor, then 37, on April 2, 2013, at Sidney Drive and Sims Street after witnesses called police around noon to report he was back in the neighborhood. He reportedly returned to the apartment to sleep after Shoulder’s death.
Now 40 years old, Taylor initially was charged with murder before prosecutors reduced it to manslaughter, for which the penalty ranges one to 20 years. He also was charged with second-degree child cruelty and being a felon with a firearm.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Cooley said Taylor’s record showed convictions for willfully and negligently discharging a firearm in 1996, and for being a felon with a firearm in 1999.
Superior Court Judge William Rumer sentenced Taylor to serve 20 years for manslaughter and a consecutive 10 years for child cruelty, plus five years’ probation for the firearm charge.
Rumer also ordered Taylor to have no contact with Shoulders’ family and to pay her mother $8,000 in restitution for funeral expenses.
The mother currently has custody of Taylor’s daughter, who will be allowed to contact her father when she becomes an adult, if she so chooses, Rumer said. The child also is allowed to maintain contact with her paternal grandparents.
Among the violent domestic disputes that preceded Shoulders’ fatal shooting was one reported about a month earlier.
Police were called to Shoulders’ apartment around 9:30 a.m. Feb. 24, 2013, when Taylor told officers a fight started as he was trying to leave.
Taylor told police Shoulders became so angry that she pushed his $349, 32-inch television down the stairs. Shoulders told police that Taylor shattered her $200, 43-inch Samsung TV by putting his knee through the screen.
When Taylor walked outside to get into his 1992 Nissan Sentra, Shoulders took a cooking pot and slammed it against the car’s windshield, cracking it, officers said.
Police that day filed two criminal trespass reports based on family violence, one listing Taylor as the victim and Shoulders as the suspect, the other designating Shoulders the victim and Taylor the suspect.